Prototype Einstein Telescope will be housed in Randwyck
The ET Pathfinder, a test facility for the Einstein Telescope, will be housed in the university building at the Duboisdomein 30 (DUB30) in Maastricht. Maastricht University (UM) had been renting the building for several years, but has decided to purchase it for the construction of the ET Pathfinder. A team of researchers led by Professor Stefan Hild, UM professor of Gravitational Research who was appointed on 1 August, will move into the Duboisdomein building this month. Construction of the prototype will then start early next year.
Professor Thomas Cleij, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), is delighted: “It is a great milestone in the development of FSE, and of science and technology at UM in general, to be able to develop this new location for Maastricht physics research. The ET Pathfinder facility that will be built is unique in the world and will attract many international scientists. The location of the hall at the Duboisdomein, so close to the city centre, is also unique for such a large international scientific facility.”
The ET Pathfinder is a kind of scale model of the Einstein Telescope - a deep-cooled, triangular underground laser detector ten kilometres in length, which in theory will be able to explore the universe as far back as the Big Bang. The ET Pathfinder will be built in the former transport hall of the DUB30 building, which will be transformed into a cleanroom with a low-vibration floor. The ET Pathfinder will become a valuable infrastructure for further research into gravitational waves and the technology to detect them. In addition, the test facility will help to optimally position the Euregio as a potential candidate for the construction and operation of the Einstein Telescope; Sardinia is also in the running for the detector. In 2021 or 2022, it will be announced where the Einstein Telescope will eventually be built.
Demissionary Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven will open ETpathfinder in Maastricht this afternoon. The state-of-the-art physics laboratory will serve as a testing ground for the development of technologies for future gravitational wave detectors.
UM President Martin Paul received the badge of honour ('erespeld) of the city of Venlo on 7 September from Mayor Scholten.